Dutch football coach denies allegations of rape made by Vera Pauw

Ireland coach went public on Friday after previously supplying a statement to the police vice squad

A Dutch football coach has denied raping Republic of Ireland manager Vera Pauw.

Pauw went public last Friday with an allegation of rape and separate incidents of sexual assault, involving two other figures working “within Dutch football” when she was a player during the 1980s and 1990s, in a detailed interview with newspaper NRC Handelsblad.

The accused man informed the Dutch media that he intends to defend himself “to the utmost” but he stopped short of taking legal action.

“I am stunned by the allegations,” he said. “Nothing inappropriate has happened in that regard. Not in my whole life, by the way. That is not possible. I don’t remember any disagreements or problems [with Pauw].

“This is like a bolt from the blue for me and my family.

“If I have hurt anyone, I am very sorry,” he continued. “But what I’m hearing now just can’t be true. That’s not how I’m put together. My family knows that, my friends and acquaintances know that. I am really totally stunned.”

Pauw, after growing frustrations with the speed that Dutch football association, the KNVB, were investigating her revelations, supplied a statement to the police vice squad in June. However, the statute of limitations in Dutch law suggests that prosecution would not be possible.

“I’m doing this for myself, to take away some of the pain” said Pauw, “even if he will no longer be [prosecuted]. But I am no longer ashamed of what happened and now say it loud, because I stand for the truth.”

The coach admitted, in a recent interview, to having an extramarital affair with Pauw, who was 22 years old at the time, after they met at a KNVB tournament in 1985.

“I regret ever starting it,” he said. “It was not wise and it made my wife sad. After a few weeks I broke off the affair on my own initiative. I chose my family, which I am very happy with to this day.

“But one thing I know one hundred thousand per cent for sure: nothing happened without mutual consent.

“I am willing to fully co-operate with any investigation, but I have not heard anything from [the KNVB] yet.

“I still have a lot of respect for her,” he added. “But what has happened in recent days, the consequences are extremely dire. I will continue to defend myself to the utmost.”

“She has a feud with the KNVB and feels that she has been neglected,” he told the Haarlems Dagblad newspaper. “I find that very sad, also for her. Pauw has meant a lot to Dutch women’s football.”

Pauw said she was raped in her home in Utrecht over two nights.

I thought, what happened here? This wasn’t making out. So I said, ‘Don’t ever do this to me again’. But that didn’t impress him. That is my biggest mistake, that not all alarm bells went off at that time,” she said before adding that the coach returned to her home the next day.

“He said, ‘I want to show you that I can do it differently’. And I believed that, at the time. We ended up back in bed. He rammed it in and was done in under a minute.”

Pauw and the coach later became colleagues in the KVNB, and during a summer camp Pauw said “he always came to my room” until she told him: “‘If you don’t leave now, I’m going to scream.’”

The KVNB have expressed regret over their handling of the investigation.

Last year, Pauw informed the Irish media that she has encountered abuse “everywhere I have coach”, which includes the Dutch, Scottish, Russian, South African national sides and the Houston Dash in the NWSL.

“In Ireland I have never experienced anything like that, yet. And I hope it keeps like that. In every other country I have experienced it. Everywhere where I have coached.

“It is all over the world and it happens on a daily basis.”

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent